Dutch term – Kermis

The kermis is the carnival. Most towns have a carnival once of twice a year. The kermis was traditionally a time of courtship, where young folks got together. Some areas had a fair, where young women would line up and young men would select the girl of their choice to take to the carnival and to walk her home at the end of the … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Koekoeksgraad

I first heard the word Koekoeksgraad last week and liked it so much that I wanted to share it with you. Koekoeksgraad means "degree of cuckoos," the degree of non-paternity events per generation. I first heard the term in a presentation by forensic DNA expert Maarten Larmuseau, in a Youtube recording of his presentation about using Y-chromosomes … [Read more...]

The illegitimate, doubly baptized, incestuous orphan

Sometimes you read records and you wonder how much bad luck one person can handle. While doing research for a client I came across the following baptism in a transcription of the Roman-Catholic baptismal records for Venlo in 1750-1760:1 1751 13 november Anna Elisabetha conditionaliter rebaptizata est filia spuria Andreae Ketels et … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Vroedvrouw

A vroedvrouw was a midwife. There were also vroedmeesters, doctors specialized in helping women deliver children. The midwife was responsible for more than just seeing the mother and the child safely through the birth. In the case of an unwed mother, she was also urged to press the mother into revealing the name of the father of her child. It … [Read more...]

How to find the father of an illegitimate child

In most families, sooner or later you will encounter a child born to an unwed mother. Finding the fathers of these 'illegitimate' children can be difficult, but not necessarily impossible. I've researched dozens of these cases, both in my own tree and for clients. In four cases, I have been able to prove who the father was. In two other cases, I … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Look in the margins of birth records

The margins of birth records sometimes contain interesting information. For example, if the child was born out of wedlock, and the mother later married and the husband recognized the child as his, this will be recorded in the margin of the birth record. So don't rely on an index, but always check the original document to see what information may be … [Read more...]

Using birth records (geboorteaktes) to find your Dutch ancestors

Birth records (Dutch: geboorteakte) are a part of the civil registration and were kept since 1811 (or slightly earlier for some parts of the Netherlands). A birth record lists the following data: Place, date and time of birth Names of parents Name, profession and age of the one registering the birth (often the father) Names, profession … [Read more...]